Preston v Walsall preview

Preston v Walsall preview

Published Jan. 11, 2013 1:15 p.m. ET

Troyes midfielder Mounir Obbadi expects high-flying Lyon to be fully motivated for Saturday's Ligue 1 clash at the Stade de l'Aube following their Coupe de France defeat.

Lyon, who lie second in the overall league standings behind Paris St Germain on goal difference, lost out on penalties to third-tier Epinal last Sunday and will fancy their chances against second-bottom Troyes.

Obbadi knows Lyon fans will be expecting a big reaction from their team against his side, who only have two wins to show from their first 19 games, following their cup exit and thinks they will be under more pressure as a result.

"These are two different competitions and Lyon are still in the Europa League," Obbadi told


"Now we can actually expect them to be highly motivated. For us, it does not change much. We need points and we must put in our hand all of the necessary ingredients to win.

"Of course it will be difficult, but we have nothing to lose. The pressure is more on them."

Troyes were beaten 4-1 by Lyon in August last year and with the need to secure points all the more pressing now following the winter break, Obbadi denies there is a special winning formula.

"There is no recipe," Obbadi said. "It is especially important to win the maximum number of matches. That's it!

"Otherwise, it will be complicated. But we do not give up, as nothing has been decided mathematically with relegation."

Lyon coach Remi Garde does not think his side's elimination from the cup competition will affect them on their return to league action.

He said: "The week was marked pretty heavily by our elimination. We know what we have to do.

"The players are facing up to their responsibilities, as they have been since the beginning of the season.

"We missed out on qualifying, but it shouldn't throw us off. Did I raise my voice? Perhaps. I didn't really feel like congratulating the players, nor myself.

"I wasn't happy but anger is a sign of weakness. I have many ways of trying to get the best out of the squad; the rod isn't the only one."

O'Hanlon was released by the Scottish Premier League side in August and the 30-year-old has been training with the Cumbrians since December.

Boss Greg Abbott told the club's official website: "We invited Sean along just before Christmas and he has enjoyed himself with us.

"He knows some of the lads anyway and he has fitted in well. We've seen a lot of him and we're delighted that we've been able to bring him in.

"He's a big, strong player who has a lot of experience and games under his belt. We're really looking forward to working with him."

O'Hanlon began his career at Everton but made a permanent switch to Swindon, following a successful loan spell at the County Ground, when he was released by the Toffees in 2004. He played over 100 games for the Robins before signing for MK Dons in 2006.

A move to Hibernian followed five good years in Milton Keynes and he teamed up with Carlisle at the end of last year having been made a free agent by the Edinburgh-based club.

Although Manchester City's emergence as a major threat to United's own trophy hopes has given derby day added significance, spending so long scrapping for supremacy with Liverpool means that rivalry has proved impossible to break.

"I would say it is the fixture we look forward to first," Ferdinand said. "The rivalry runs deep.

"Liverpool have not been up their fighting for the championship but the fans and the players are well versed in what this means to us as a club."

Although United and Liverpool have rarely finished first and second in the league, they are by far England's most successful clubs, with 37 titles and eight European Cups between them.

The number of great players that have represented either team is the stuff of legend, as is the enmity that comes from two proud cities who formed such a central part of England's Industrial Revolution.

"It is special," Ferdinand added. "You look back over the years and see what has gone on before I came to the club and whilst I have been here there have been loads of great moments.

"You just want to add your name and be a part of a team that joins that long list of events that have gone on.

"I always enjoy playing against Liverpool, either at Anfield or Old Trafford. Hopefully this is another good, exciting and winning occasion for us."

For once though, Ferdinand cannot be sure of his place.

The 34-year-old has made it clear he is fit and available, but the same can also be said of his long-time partner Nemanja Vidic, in addition to Jonny Evans - who has made more appearances than any other central defender this season - and Chris Smalling.

"When you are at a place like this you always need competition for places," Ferdinand said. "If there was no competition for places we wouldn't be as successful as we are.

"We have to make it difficult for the manager to pick a first XI and then we go from there. You just hope you are in the team that plays."

Iro, 28, has made five appearances for the Bees, scoring a 97th-minute equaliser to earn Edgar Davids' side a 2-2 draw with Exeter just before the turn of the year.

He told Barnet's official website: "I am very happy to have extended my loan because I want to be playing first-team football and I have had the opportunity to do that here.

"We have been on a very good run which will hopefully continue on Saturday against Rotherham."

Iro joined Stevenage in September having played the majority of his career in the USA, attending the University of California before being drafted to the Columbus Crewe.

Preston will be without the services of goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.

Simonsen suffered a knee cartilage injury in Thursday night's 3-2 Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat at Coventry and was hindered by the problem as the Sky Blues fired two goals in injury time to deny North End a place in the northern area final.

Thorsten Stuckmann is poised to deputise between the posts for the former Everton and Stoke man.

Defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff is a major doubt having hobbled off to be replaced by Chris Robertson 18 minutes into the Ricoh Arena clash, although the nature of his problem is unknown.

Joe Garner is set to continue in attack alongside midweek goalscorer Stuart Beavon having made his North End debut.

Keith Keane (knee), fellow defender Scott Laird (broken leg) and forward Lee Trundle (hamstring) remain on the sidelines.

Walsall are without Karl Darlow for the trip to North End.

The goalkeeper was recalled by Nottingham Forest after keeping clean sheets in both of his appearances since returning for a second loan spell on New Year's Day.

Boss Dean Smith may choose to dive into the market to sign a replacement ahead of the game or turn to Hungarian keeper David Grof, who has made 14 appearances so far this campaign but has not played since November.

Meanwhile, Smith has completed the permanent signing of teenage midfielder Sam Mantom from West Brom.

Midfielder Florent Cuvelier is absent again with a hamstring problem, but his injury is not as bad as first feared and he could make a return to training next week.

Striker Febian Brandy has trained after picking up a slight hamstring injury during last Friday's 2-0 win over Portsmouth and is expected to feature, but the game is expected to come too soon for defenders Andy Taylor (groin) and Dean Holden (ankle).